Spine & Rehab Specialists - May 2020

MAY 2020

6358 EDGEMERE BLVD. EL PASO, TEXAS 79925 915-562-8525

1779 N. ZARAGOZA ST., SUITE A EL PASO, TEXAS 79936 915-855-6466

PUTTING THE PANDEMIC IN PERSPECTIVE A LOOK AT WHAT WE’VE ALREADY SURVIVED

These last few months have been tough not just for me, my family, and my team, but for all of us. With Mother’s Day coming up, I’ve been thinking a lot about my parents and how they’re coping with the coronavirus pandemic. My mom is 88, and my dad is 92, so they’re both at high risk if they catch the virus, which is hitting the Netherlands hard. However, I can’t help but think that, at this point in their lives, my parents have already survived so much that they must have a very different perspective on the coronavirus than I do. For example, this month on May 5, the Netherlands will celebrate Liberation Day — the 75-year commemoration of the end of World War II, when Allied forces liberated our country from German occupation. My parents both lived through the war, and so did many other people still living in Holland. In a lot of ways, I know it’s still fresh in their minds. Because America wasn’t occupied during WWII, the feeling about the war is very different here. It feels farther away than it did back home, where my mom told me stories about seeing trains go by when she was a little girl, full of victims headed to the concentration camp near where she grew up. I can’t help but think that there are a lot of parallels between that time in Dutch history and now in America. That was, and this is, a time of adversity. Things are happening that are outside of our control, and the government is setting rules restricting our freedom. Here today, those rules are mostly for good reasons — to keep people healthy and slow the spread of the virus — but they’re still uncomfortable. Businesses are hurting and so are people who are out of work or struggling to take care of kids who would normally be in school. One of my employees who was supposed to get married in March had to cancel his wedding because the venue shut down. Basically, this pandemic is hurting everyone, just like the war did, although in a different way.

Some people have made mistakes, and we’ve all been affected, but we will get through this. By pulling together as a family, a team, and a community, we will be strong enough to survive whatever the coronavirus throws our way, just like my parents came through the horrors of WWII. We need to band together like the Dutch, the French, the Belgians, and the Americans did during the war — and more recently, like we as an El Paso community did after the terrible shooting last August killed 22 of our friends and neighbors. Instead of tearing us apart, these awful things draw us closer together, and in the end, they make us stronger. I hope you, your friends, and your loved ones are staying healthy and safe during these crazy times. If you’re feeling scared, just remember that we got through two world wars, and we can get through this too. Putting the virus in that perspective gives me some comfort, so maybe it can do the same for you.

With that in mind, I want to tell you what I told my employee: As bad as things are now, it will all be okay.

– Harry Koster

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THE WOMAN WHO RACED 4,200 MILES IN 18 DAYS AND WON MEET CYCLING LEGEND LAEL WILCOX

Picture the distance between Oregon and Virginia on a U.S. map. Now, picture crossing that distance on a bicycle. Odds are you either can’t imagine it or you conjured up a monthslong slog, but in 2016, ultra-endurance cyclist Lael Wilcox crossed that distance in just 18 days and 10 minutes — the second- fastest time in the history of the Trans Am Bike Race. As hard as it is to believe, the 4,200 mile stretch from Astoria, Oregon, to Yorktown, Virginia, is actually a racecourse. Every June, roughly 50–100 cyclists undertake the journey, pedaling through a total of 10 states. It’s an insane obstacle course of cars, mountains, and weather events that riders go through alone, without required checkpoints or designated rest periods.

When Wilcox won the Trans Am in 2016, she became the first woman and the first American ever to do so. According to NPR, the victory came down to a combination of endurance and luck. In the final days of the race, she was in second place behind Steffan Streich when exhaustion sent him pedaling out of Bumpass, Virginia, in the wrong direction. When the two met on the road at 3 a.m., a panicked Streich turned around and sprinted neck and neck with Wilcox toward the finish. After a few miles, she pulled ahead and won. In response to those who said a woman could never win the Trans Am, Wilcox told NPR, “If you beat 'em, you beat 'em. That's what happens. And then everybody has to change the way they think." Perhaps the most impressive thing about Wilcox, even more than her 2016 win, is that she didn’t start cycling until she was 20 years old, when her boyfriend at the time gave her a bike. Since then, she’s competed all over the world, logging a total of 100,000 miles in 35 countries. When she’s isn’t racing, Wilcox encourages teenage girls to try cycling with scholarships and group events. In November 2019, she even starred in “I Just Want to Ride,” a 38-minute film following her quest to win the 2019 Tour Divide Race. To learn more about the film and what makes Wilcox tick, visit LaelWilcox.com.

MEDICARE NOW COVERS ACUPUNCTURE A NEW OPTION TO TREAT LOWER BACK PAIN

Good news for Medicare beneficiaries! In a landmark decision, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has opted to cover acupuncture treatments for those suffering from chronic lower back pain. This new treatment option opens more possibilities for those seeking pain relief and hints at more choices becoming available to beneficiaries in the future. If you’ve been wanting to try acupuncture for your chronic lower back pain, then there are some things you should know before seeking treatment. CAN ACUPUNCTURE HELP? Acupuncture is an ancient form of medicine, with roots as far back as 100 B.C. Today, many patients in the United States have found the treatment effective — though clinical trials have proven inconclusive. However, in 2017, guidelines published by the American

College of Physicians found moderate evidence that acupuncture is effective at treating lower back pain and may be a viable option for you if other methods of pain relief aren’t working. WHAT WILL MEDICARE COVER? For those with Original Medicare (parts A and B), your plan will cover up to 12 acupuncture treatments over 90 days. These have to be administered by a licensed acupuncturist to treat chronic lower back pain. If you see noticeable improvements in your condition after your treatment, an additional eight sessions may be covered. WHAT’S THE BIG PICTURE? The CMS’ decision to cover acupuncture marks the first time Medicare has expanded to an area of alternative medicine. The decision came in response to the opioid crisis, which

has unfortunately highlighted the extremely harmful effects of painkillers on individuals and families. As more alternative medicine treatments are studied, Medicare beneficiaries faced with other forms of chronic pain may have new treatment options opened to them. If you feel that your chronic pain isn’t responding well to physical therapy alone, don’t be afraid to incorporate treatments like acupuncture in conjunction with exercises like yoga. These typically work well as a supplement to physical therapy. If you’ve been suffering from chronic pain and would like an alternative to opioids or surgery, talk to your physical therapist and see what options work with your current treatment.

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UNLOCK YOUR SPICE POTENTIAL! THE TECHNIQUES BEHIND MAKING EXCELLENT INDIAN FOOD

BAGHAR/TARKA (TEMPERING) Add whole spices (cumin, cloves, cardamom, peppercorns, curry leaves, dried pepper, etc.) to oil and fry until fragrant. That’s it! The spices infuse the oil with flavor, and the roasting further develops the spice. You can temper spices at the beginning of a recipe, like a curry, before adding other ingredients, or you can stir it into a dish right at the end, like dal or stew. Every Indian household has a different version of tarka dal, which is essentially prepared lentils with a tempered oil and spice mixture stirred into it. This technique jazzes up any Indian dish, and getting creative with spice combinations is half the fun! BHUNAO (SAUTÉING AND ROASTING) In order to understand how to bhunao, you need to be familiar with masala, an Indian spice mixture that has been ground into a powder or paste. Most commonly, masalas are a combination of onion, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, and spices. However, masala ingredients can

Indian food is a dream cuisine for many plant-based, vegetarian, and vegan eaters, but it can seem very intimidating to cook at home. That’s only because you may not be familiar with the cooking techniques used to make it. How do you make the most of your spices? How do you combine vegetables (and/or meat) with the spices? Here are two techniques to get your favorite Indian dishes tasting as authentic as those served at a restaurant.

vary according to region and personal preference, but you can find some version of it on the spice aisle of most grocery stores. To bhunao, start by heating oil. Then you add your masala and cook over medium-high heat. As the water in the masala evaporates, it’ll stick to the pan; use splashes of water, yogurt, or stock to loosen it and prevent burning. Do not let your masala burn! Your masala has been “bhunaoed” once it’s thick and shiny and you can see the oil has separated. Finally, add meat and vegetables and cook down to your liking. This is the most important technique for recreating Indian curries, such as tikka masala and korma. Now that you know a few Indian cooking techniques, be creative in the kitchen! When you’re not following a recipe, you can have fun and explore different flavor combinations while still knowing exactly what to do.

AVOCADO MAYONNAISE Inspired by The Kitchn

TAKE A BREAK!

Your entree is only as good as the seasonings and sauces that accompany it. We guarantee you’ll be looking for excuses to pair this vegan avocado mayonnaise with all your meals!

INGREDIENTS

• 2 ripe avocados • 1 tsp chipotle peppers in adobo sauce • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

• 1 tsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed • 1/2 tsp salt • 1/4 cup olive oil

DIRECTIONS

1. In a food processor, blend

3. Turn the processor on again and slowly pour in olive oil. 4. Blend for 1 minute or until smooth.

avocados, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and salt for 1 minute.

2. Scrape the mixture down the sides of the bowl.

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PRST STD US POSTAGE PAID BOISE, ID PERMIT 411

915-562-8525 | www.SpineRehab.net 6358 Edgemere Blvd. El Paso, Texas 79925

1. COVER TITLE 1. PUTTING THE PANDEMIC IN PERSPECTIVE 2. MEET THE WOMAN WHO BIKED 4,200 MILES IN 18 DAYS A NEW WAY TO TREAT LOWER BACK PAIN 3. THE SECRETS OF INDIAN FOOD AVOCADO MAYONNAISE 4. SHOULD YOU SKIP YOUR WORKOUT IF YOU’RE SICK? INSIDE THIS ISSUE

SHOULD YOU SKIP YOUR WORKOUT IF YOU DON’T FEEL WELL? WHY SOME EXERCISE IS BENEFICIAL WHEN YOU’RE SICK

Getting sick is terrible, especially if you’re trying to stick to a consistent workout routine. You may think sickness means more rest days — but in fact, depending on your symptoms, continuing to exercise could be a good thing. While it may seem like common sense to avoid exerting yourself too much when you’re feeling under the weather, the effects of exercising while you’re sick are a bit more nuanced than you think. If you’re sick and trying to decide if you should try to get a workout in, assess where you feel your symptoms. Are they only above the neck? Or are they above and below the neck? Symptoms of a head cold, such as a runny nose, a mildly sore throat, and some congestion, shouldn’t keep you from exercising. At the very worst, you might just have to cut back the intensity of your workout. If you usually go for a run, try decreasing the time of your run or going for a walk instead. There’s actually evidence that exercise can help alleviate symptoms located above the neck when you’re sick. For instance, walking and jogging can help clear up congested

nasal passages. Many runners will attest to the fact that their workout actually helps them feel better when they’re sick. There’s also evidence that yoga can boost your immune system and ease aches related to sinus issues. Saying “om” might even help too, as one study found humming could actually aid in opening clogged sinuses. If you have a fever or any type of stomach problem, however, you should skip your workout altogether. And if your workouts seem to exacerbate your sickness, take a break until the sickness subsides. That said, it’s nice to know that it takes more than a little case of the sniffles to throw off your workout routine!

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